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KEF Reference 4C Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 1.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 1.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 73 22.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 243 74.3%

  • Total voters
    327

sarumbear

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That type of comment, shows you are (hopefully) blissfully unaware of what some great DIY designers have made in the last decade or so. Having heard some amazing speakers, using Scan Speak, Seas, SB Acoustics, Accuton and Purifi Drivers, I think your understanding of DIY and The guys that engineer the speakers may need some updating!

But I think this is a topic for another discussion.
The posters attitude is uninformed but not entirely wrong in this thread’s context. A DIY designer is limited to what is available on the market from the OEM driver manufacturers. They do not have an option on the driver design other than possibly the horn/waveguide. On the other hand manufacturers like KEF (but also, Genelec, Revel, JBL, etc.) design and often manufacture every part of their speakers. That is a huge advantage for them…and a major limit for DIY.
 

Sancus

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Dolby does accept bass management but as a secondary option. This is from their document: "If using speakers with limited low-frequency response, it is necessary to employ bass management to redirect low-frequency sounds to the subwoofer." It is not exactly saying you must use bass-management is it?

If you have a large, dedicated space or are willing to use the frankly extreme amount of room treatment necessary to achieve smooth low bass without bass management, I don't see a problem. Buy speakers with massive woofers and enjoy.

The fact remains that in the vast majority of domestic rooms bass management produces a better result and there's a reason so many respected sources recommend it(eg Toole, Geddes, etc).

To me it's what produces the better practical result and not a question of purity relative to whatever they're doing in theatres that have 20-50x the volume of my entire apartment lol. It is not like we even get these mixes for home content, we typically don't have access to them at all.
 

pseudoid

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Use their in-wall versions like I do and make your other half happy as well.
Thank you but it couldn't be a workable solution, as the TV must me hidden (my edict, not her's) from view when not in use.
But you got me thinking that maybe I can stuff a center speaker inside the middle part of our liftTV cabinetry (18.75"W x 23.00"H x 14.00"D (47.6cmW x 58.4cmH x 35.6cmD)).
My last foray, into adding a new center, ended up picking a nice looking 'door-stop' (Polk R350).
I spent few ours going thru the great @sweetchaos post for "Passive Speaker Recommendations for USA"
Then, BAMZ! I came to the conclusion that I am not going to complicate matters just for movie watching and stick with stereo L/R that has been my sweet-spot for far too long to change.
 

beagleman

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The posters attitude is uninformed but not entirely wrong in this thread’s context. A DIY designer is limited to what is available on the market from the OEM driver manufacturers. They do not have an option on the driver design other than possibly the horn/waveguide. On the other hand manufacturers like KEF (but also, Genelec, Revel, JBL, etc.) design and often manufacture every part of their speakers. That is a huge advantage for them…and a major limit for DIY.
Great point.
 

TurtlePaul

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I don't think I am uninformed, maybe I came across a little to blase. I am aware of the Directiva and others.

These speaker makers are designing and optimizing their own drivers, including coaxials (Kef & Genelec), using aluminum cabinet (Genelec, Neumann), computer optimized waveguides (all of them), measure/test/optimize in anechoic chamber or klippel (all of them). I don't see the DIY market doing these things.

Specific to the Kef whitepaper, these speakers have:
- Kef's latest coaxial technology
- Optimized midrange shape to form waveguide, probably using fluid analysis
- Optimized the interface between the tweeter dome and the waveguide to eliminate distortion transients that originate off the corner of flat baffles as the sound wave from the tweeter changes from pistonic to omnidirectional
- Measured the distortion contribution of each crossover component and tested hundred of components to minimize crossover distortion (sounds like more than avoiding iron core inductors and electrolytic caps)
- Tuned dampening in the port tubes using flexible membranes to absorb midrange port noise

I don't think that the DIY community is doing any of the things Kef if promoting in a meaningful manner. If they are, then maybe I am uninformed. If these things are all marketing B/S then we should call Kef out as this is ASR. If these unique things Kef is going make a positive difference, then the DIY community is behind the big boys (not to say that you can't DIY a very very good speaker).
 

bo_knows

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I don't think I am uninformed, maybe I came across a little to blase. I am aware of the Directiva and others.

These speaker makers are designing and optimizing their own drivers, including coaxials (Kef & Genelec), using aluminum cabinet (Genelec, Neumann), computer optimized waveguides (all of them), measure/test/optimize in anechoic chamber or klippel (all of them). I don't see the DIY market doing these things.

Specific to the Kef whitepaper, these speakers have:
- Kef's latest coaxial technology
- Optimized midrange shape to form waveguide, probably using fluid analysis
- Optimized the interface between the tweeter dome and the waveguide to eliminate distortion transients that originate off the corner of flat baffles as the sound wave from the tweeter changes from pistonic to omnidirectional
- Measured the distortion contribution of each crossover component and tested hundred of components to minimize crossover distortion (sounds like more than avoiding iron core inductors and electrolytic caps)
- Tuned dampening in the port tubes using flexible membranes to absorb midrange port noise

I don't think that the DIY community is doing any of the things Kef if promoting in a meaningful manner. If they are, then maybe I am uninformed. If these things are all marketing B/S then we should call Kef out as this is ASR. If these unique things Kef is going make a positive difference, then the DIY community is behind the big boys (not to say that you can't DIY a very very good speaker).
I'm not 100% sure if KEF reference line cabinets are made in "house". Johan from KEF mentioned in one video that lacquer finish on reference cabinets is done in a different shop. This would mean that not everything on those speakers is done in-house. Focal and B&W top models appear to be done totally in-house including the paint jobs. The point here is that even KEF may let other specialists work on their cabinets to bring them to their specifications.
 
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anphex

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Honestly, looking at the directivity I would use two of this bad boy vertically in a stereo setup with a subwoofer and be happy. The price is a little too steep though. I would pay 2k tops for something like this.
 

Nootmuskaatje

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Honestly, looking at the directivity I would use two of this bad boy vertically in a stereo setup with a subwoofer and be happy. The price is a little too steep though. I would pay 2k tops for something like this.
Why wouldn't you use the towers in the same lineup? The reference 5 looks like the 4c but vertical.
 

sarumbear

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If you have a large, dedicated space or are willing to use the frankly extreme amount of room treatment necessary to achieve smooth low bass without bass management, I don't see a problem. Buy speakers with massive woofers and enjoy.
One of us seem to confuse bass management with EQ. Bass management is simply a crossover and summer. You can use it with or without an EQ. You can use EQ with three full range speakers and with three bass drivers located in different parts of the room (like multiple subs) you can even have better room loading. Think about that....
 

Sancus

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One of us seem to confuse bass management with EQ. Bass management is simply a crossover and summer. You can use it with or without an EQ. You can use EQ with three full range speakers and with three bass drivers located in different parts of the room (like multiple subs) you can even have better room loading. Think about that....
The signal to each speaker won't be the same so you can't do anything like multisub no. I didn't confuse bass management with EQ, not sure why you think that. You seem to just be talking about something totally unrelated.

Having one low bass signal only is key to smooth bass in domestic sized rooms. If you don't have that, then your EQ is much worse and cannot achieve the same results.
 

sarumbear

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The fact remains that in the vast majority of domestic rooms bass management produces a better result and there's a reason so many respected sources recommend it(eg Toole, Geddes, etc).
Having one low bass signal only is key to smooth bass in domestic sized rooms. If you don't have that, then your EQ is much worse and cannot achieve the same results.
You refer to Dr. Toole’s book where he suggested using a subwoofer at each room corner. What is your answer to that?
If you have a large, dedicated space or are willing to use the frankly extreme amount of room treatment necessary to achieve smooth low bass without bass management, I don't see a problem. Buy speakers with massive woofers and enjoy.
That’s exactly what I do. Though I use multiple small woofer on each speaker as used in this speaker.

I did say that bass management is a solution but a secondary option, which you seem to agree too.
 

exm

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I'm not 100% sure if KEF reference line cabinets are made in "house". Johan from KEF mentioned in one video that lacquer finish on reference cabinets is done in a different shop. This would mean that not everything on those speakers is done in-house. Focal and B&W top models appear to be done totally in-house including the paint jobs. The point here is that even KEF may let other specialists work on their cabinets to bring them to their specifications.

If they do the finish in another shop, what difference does that make? The finish is akin to a spray paint on a car.
 

sarumbear

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Thank you but it couldn't be a workable solution, as the TV must me hidden (my edict, not her's) from view when not in use.
But you got me thinking that maybe I can stuff a center speaker inside the middle part of our liftTV cabinetry (18.75"W x 23.00"H x 14.00"D (47.6cmW x 58.4cmH x 35.6cmD)).
My last foray, into adding a new center, ended up picking a nice looking 'door-stop' (Polk R350).
I spent few ours going thru the great @sweetchaos post for "Passive Speaker Recommendations for USA"
Then, BAMZ! I came to the conclusion that I am not going to complicate matters just for movie watching and stick with stereo L/R that has been my sweet-spot for far too long to change.
I have a large painting that slides over the TV when not in use. Speakers are behind grills as well. There’s nothing visible on the false wall when not watching TV.
 
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sarumbear

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I'm not 100% sure if KEF reference line cabinets are made in "house". Johan from KEF mentioned in one video that lacquer finish on reference cabinets is done in a different shop. This would mean that not everything on those speakers is done in-house. Focal and B&W top models appear to be done totally in-house including the paint jobs. The point here is that even KEF may let other specialists work on their cabinets to bring them to their specifications.
Who cares about cabinet manufacturer? Do you think DIY speaker building is akin to furniture building?

Besides, shop in England often means another facility, which is not necessarily owned by a 3rd party.
 

JD_Spoon

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Why wouldn't you use the towers in the same lineup? The reference 5 looks like the 4c but vertical.
Because a pair of the centers stood on end option cost significantly less than the towers. This is true even if you factor in getting some custom stands manufactured to get them angled correctly & elevated off the floor, as I have.
 

pseudoid

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Because a pair of the centers stood on end option cost significantly less than the towers.
So? What do you do?
Tilt your head 90degree to the L or R, to listen to them?
Argh!:)
 

JD_Spoon

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So? What do you do?
Tilt your head 90degree to the L or R, to listen to them?
Argh!:)
Why would I need to? As far as I can measure, their drivers are in the exact same orientation and spacing as the Reference 5's arrangement in that configuration. The only difference is the vertical height, and that's what the stands are for.
 

exm

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So? What do you do?
Tilt your head 90degree to the L or R, to listen to them?
Argh!:)

JDS is right. These speakers are nearly identical. You would only need to look for some sort of a custom stand to elevate and secure them.
 

DrIacozKnows

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Here is the C208 review:


The KEF is a better center channel in every way. Only the Revel C426Be can go up against it.
Nope.
In fact there is a third one: PARADIGM PERSONA C.
The choice among them is just a matter of preference.
 

JRiggs

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I was reading that someone ripped the Coax's out of something like a Q150 and put them in the dashboard of his Honda. He apparently really liked them. Might make that a project some day.
Erin ran a pair of the R300 (IIRC) drivers in a car system awhile back.
 
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